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Advance or Retreat? Constructing a Viable Policy Road Map for Renewables (Mostly Solar) in Wisconsin. Michael Vickerman Sustainability Summit, March 7, 2013 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. About RENEW Wisconsin. Advocates for state-level sustainable energy policies since 1991

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advance or retreat constructing a viable policy road map for renewables mostly solar in wisconsin

Advance or Retreat? Constructing a Viable Policy Road Map for Renewables (Mostly Solar) in Wisconsin

Michael Vickerman

Sustainability Summit, March 7, 2013

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

about renew wisconsin
About RENEW Wisconsin

Advocates for state-level sustainable energy policies since 1991

One of the architects of the state’s Renewable Energy Standard and ratepayer-funded public benefits program

Founded in 1991

Nonprofit – funding comes from grants, members

Over 250 members (businesses and individual)

An organized voice for renewable energy producers and purchasers

Please join!

Sunny morning (10-21-11)

Aldo Leopold Legacy Center


Installer: H&H Solar

value proposition to society
Value Proposition to Society
  • Emission-free
  • Non-depleting
  • Indigenous
  • Highly secure

Rooftop - Osceola Middle School

Osceola, WI


This Brewery Has a Long-Term Future

Central Waters Brewing Company


PV, 20 kW, 2011

SHW 960 sq. ft., 2009


2 MW, 14 million kWh/yr

Town of Westport


Epic Systems, Verona

1.8 MW solar field

January 2012


Epic Systems, Verona

May 2011

360 kW array over parking deck


Wisconsin’s First Community Wind Project

5 MW (2 turbines)

Cashton Greens

Cashton, WI

June 2012

Sweet Earth Farm Soldiers Grove

14.7 kW

Full Spectrum Solar

June 2012

port of milwaukee wind turbine
Port of Milwaukee Wind Turbine

Northwind 100 kW

Installer: Kettle View RE

May 2012


SC Johnson Wind Turbines

Mt. Pleasant (Racine County)

3 MW, 2 turbines, Dec. 2012

Behind the meter

renewable energy policy successes 1999 2009
Renewable Energy Policy Successes 1999 -2009
  • 1999 - Focus on Energy RE/Initial RE Standard
  • 2002 – We Energies Renewable Energy Commitment
  • 2006 - Strengthened RE Standard (10% by 2015)
  • 2006 – Strengthened Focus on Energy
  • 2006 – State of Wisconsin RE Purchase Requirement
  • 2009 – Wind Energy Siting Law
renewable energy policy reversals 2010 2013
Renewable Energy Policy Reversals 2010 - 2013
  • Clean Energy Jobs Act Goes Down the Tubes
  • Legislature Slashes 2012 Focus Budget By 20%
  • We Energies Abruptly Terminates RE Program
  • PSC Suspend RE Incentives (2011), Then Restricts Solar Incentives (2012)
  • Legislature Waters Down RES w/ Canadian Hydro
  • Legislature Suspends Wind Energy Siting Rule
  • PSC Jacks Up Green Power Premiums
  • PSC Rejects Highland Wind Farm
institutional economic and cultural challenges abound
Institutional, Economic and Cultural Challenges Abound
  • Natural gas prices project illusion of cheap energy
  • WI utilities in denial about coal’s liabilities
  • Electricity sales are stagnant
  • WI utilities have not figured out how to make solar work for them.

Solar Energy Power AssociationWashington, D.C. – On March 1, 2013, Georgia Power launched its Advanced Solar Initiative to grow solar resources in the state by opening the application process for distributed solar generation.

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved the program in November 2012, allowing the southeastern utility to acquire 45 MW of solar capacity via distributed generation and 60 MW via competitive RFP in both 2013 and 2014. When fully implemented, Georgia will benefit from an additional 210 MW of clean solar power under long-term contracts.

a frank appraisal of wisconsin s political environment
A Frank Appraisal of Wisconsin’s Political Environment
  • Firmly entrenched one-party control
  • Ideology shaping policy, fueled by corporate $$$ and ALEC to manufacture grievances
  • Only U.S. state that has a realtors association opposed to windpower
  • Clean energy an orphan in this milieu
kewaunee v wi res
Kewaunee v. WI RES
  • 6% of total WI generation now
  • 4.2 billion kWh/yr now
  • Zero carbon generation
  • 6% of total WI sales by 2015 (really 2018)
  • 3.7 billion kWh/yr now
  • Low to zero carbon generation

Kewaunee’s retirement will effectively negate the clean air and CO2 reduction benefits leveraged by Wisconsin’s Renewable Electricity Standard

midwest energy news march 4 2012

Commentary: Wisconsin legislature weighs nuclear option for renewables

AB 34 introduced to allow nuclear to count towards Wisconsin’s 10% renewable requirement by 2015

“Only in Wisconsin will you find lawmakers who treat renewable energy as though it were radioactive.”

minnesota v wisconsin
Minnesota v. Wisconsin

Has 25% RES by 2025

2013 bills

  • Increase RES to 40% by 2030 (soon to be introduced)
  • Establish a 10% solar standard by 2030
  • Has 10% RES by 2015

2013 bills

  • Decrease RES to 2011 levels (8.88%)
  • Count nuclear toward 10% requirement
  • Allow municipalities to opt out of wind siting rule
this is economic development
This is Economic Development?
  • Wind, solar and biogas are eligible for federal tax credits and grants. By propping existing fossil fuel infrastructure at the expense of new clean energy development, Wisconsin is effectively:


(e.g., U.S. Army’s $7 billion RFP for clean energy, which completely bypassed Wisconsin)

pivot and change direction
Pivot and Change Direction

Seek out approaches that:

  • Empower customers to host RE
  • Help customers purchase local RE (credits)
  • Take advantage of the solar ITC in effect thru 2016
  • Appeal to businesses
  • Sidestep utility programs and infrastructure
  • Affirm customer rights re: use of property
clean energy choice a k a 3 rd party power purchase agreements
Clean Energy Choice(a/k/a 3rd Party Power Purchase Agreements)
  • Current ambiguities in public utility law interfere w/ customers’ ability to access clean energy produced on their premises.
  • What is needed is a policy that allows customers to contract w/ third party system owners and acquire the benefits of on-site renewable energy production either through lease arrangements or power purchase agreements (PPA’s)
why clean energy choice
Why Clean Energy Choice?
  • No up-front capital required from host customers
  • Allows nonprofit entities to partner w/ for-profit companies that can use the 30% federal tax credit
  • Could lower energy costs for customers over the contract life
  • Hugely successful in states that allow it (e.g., California and Colorado)
  • It’s your premises, after all

3rd-Party Solar PV Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) / April 2012

UT: limited to certain sectors

VA: see notes

AZ: limited to certain sectors

At least 21 states + PR authorize or allow 3rd-party solar PV PPAs

Authorized by state or otherwise currently in use, at least in certain jurisdictions within in the state

Apparently disallowed by state or otherwise restricted by legal barriers

Puerto Rico

Status unclear or unknown

Note: This map is intended to serve as an unofficial guide; it does not constitute legal advice. Seek qualified legal expertise before making binding financial decisions related to a 3rd-party PPA. See following slides for additional important information and authority references.

top solar hosts a comparison
Top Solar Hosts – A Comparison

HostSolar Capacity (in MW)

Walmart 65

Kohl’s 42

Costco 39


Macy’s 16

All of Wisconsin 13

solar generating capacity comparison wisconsin vs top eight states

Ranked by Grid-Connected Cumulative Installed Capacity Through 2011

1 Capacity as of August 2012

Tables appear in U.S. Solar Market Trends, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, August 2012.

Wisconsin data provided by RENEW

we have sponsors
We Have Sponsors!
  • Assembly - Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel)

- Chris Taylor (D-Madison)

  • Product thus far – a revised bill draft (v.5) reflecting substantial input from CEC Working Group
  • Both sponsors committed to a bipartisan approach
  • Senate sponsor(s) yet to be identified
what the bill draft does
What the Bill DraftDoes
  • Does allow 3rd party owners of RE systems located on a customer’s property to sell output directly to legal occupant of that property w/out being regulated as a “public utility”
  • Does qualify these systems for Focus on Energy incentives
message themes for conservatives
Message Themes for Conservatives
  • Property rights
  • Customer choice
  • Local economic development
  • Let the market decide
  • No new mandates or taxes
supporters so far
Supporters So Far
  • City of Milwaukee
  • Johnson Controls
  • Helios USA
  • Wisconsin Farmers Union
  • Organic Valley Cooperative
  • Biogas companies (DVO, US Biogas)
  • WI Solar Energies Industry Association
  • WI Council of Churches (Stewardship Comm’n)
local institutions taking the lead
Local Institutions Taking the Lead

WI Companies/Municipalities/Schools Supporting

On-Site Renewable Energy Installations

Epic Systems Johnson Controls

Organic ValleySC Johnson

Orion Energy Services Wigwam Mills

Dane County City of Beaver Dam

UW-Oshkosh Kohl’s Dept. Stores

GundersenHealth Systems Fort Atkinson Schools

it s time to retake the initiative
It’s Time to Retake the Initiative!
  • Support businesses that invest in home-grown renewable energy
  • Become a renewable energy producer or purchaser of locally produced renewable energy credits (see RENEW booth for details)
  • Join RENEW and stay engaged on our 3rd-party contracting initiative

Michael VickermanProgram and Policy Director 608.255.4044 mvickerman@renewwisconsin.orgwww.renewwisconsin.org